There are several different types of Orders that you can apply for to protect yourself from a family member who has or may cause you harm in the future. If that person disobeys the protection order against them, they may be criminally or civilly charged. What type of protection order you should apply for depends on your particular situation.
The four most commonly accessed protection orders are described below:
An Emergency Protection Order protects you by ordering that your partner (“the Respondent”) not contact you, not come around you, and may remove your partner from the family home. EPOs can also apply to your family members if they are named in it.
There are two ways to get an EPO:
- You can get an EPO on a 24-hour basis, 7 days a week (24/7) with help from the police or Children’s Services or by attending at the bail hearing office In Edmonton or Calgary.
- You can speak with duty counsel from the Edmonton Emergency Protection Order Program (EPOP) during office hours at the Edmonton or Calgary courthouses, or you can contact the Edmonton Emergency Protection Order Program at 780-422-9222.
The order will be granted if the Provincial Court Judge or Justice of the Peace decides that by “reason of seriousness or urgency” immediate protection is needed as a result of family or relationship violence. Once you file the order, the police will serve the EPO on your partner. At that time, the conditions of the order may be enforced by the police. A higher court, the Court of Queen’s Bench, will review the EPO within nine working days.
An EPO can be used to:
- Keep the Respondent away from a home, workplace, school or anywhere else family members might be present.
- Prohibit the Respondent from making contact or communicating with certain family members.
- Grant exclusive rights to live in the home to certain family members for a specified period.
- Direct the police to remove the Respondent from their home and supervise them as they remove their personal belongings.
- Direct the police to seize and store weapons.
- Specify any other provision for the immediate protection of family members. At the review that is scheduled within nine working days of the original EPO being granted, the Respondent is given the opportunity to give their side of the story.
The Court of Queen’s Bench may:
- Confirm the EPO.
- Revoke (cancel) the EPO.
- Direct that an oral hearing be held.
- Issue a new order.
An EPO can be in place for up to one year and may be extended for further one-year periods. It is important to remember that it is illegal to make false claims. Anyone who does so can be charged with public mischief under the Criminal Code of Canada.
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A Queen’s Bench Protection Order is similar to an EPO except that you can apply for it directly from the Court of Queen’s Bench and give notice to the Respondent in advance. And EPO can also be turned in to a QBPO because it can include some additional terms. A Queen’s Bench Protection Order can be in place for up to one year and may be extended for further one-year periods.
In addition to the terms in an EPO, a Queen’s Bench Protection Order can also include terms that:
- Require the Respondent to pay you for any financial losses suffered as a result of family violence.
- Allow the victim or the Respondent to temporarily possess specified personal property.
- Instruct the victim or the Respondent not to deal with property in which they both have an interest (for example, not selling it or giving it away).
- Require the respondent to post a bond (money) to ensure they will follow the terms of the order.
- Require any family members involved in the violence to receive counselling.
If you have good reason to believe your partner might hurt you, your loved ones, or damage your property, you can apply for a peace bond. A peace bond does not require a lawyer; Edmonton Police Services will complete the paperwork, and obtaining the peace bond comes at no financial cost. If your partner breaches the peace bond, they become criminally responsible.
The process of obtaining a peace bond is as follows:
- To start, visit your local police station to prepare a form stating how your partner has hurt you or your loved ones.
- The police will then investigate what you have told them.
- You will then need to go to the courthouse to swear to a Justice of the Peace that your form states the truth. You may also be asked to elaborate on your statement.
- The police will tell you when your partner’s court hearing is. You may be required to attend court again later; the police will inform you if this is the case.
- If a peace bond is issued, keep a copy with you to show the police.
- A peace bond remains in effect for one year.
In an emergency, it is possible to obtain a peace bond in two to three weeks.
A restraining order has terms that limit how the Respondent can contact you. The Police can arrest your partner for breaking (also, called “breaching”) the restraining order if there is a police enforcement clause. Breaching the order is not a criminal offence, but the family court can order consequences against the Respondent for breaking the order because this would mean they are in “civil contempt of court”. Consequences can include jail time or fines.
You can apply directly to the Court of Queen’s Bench for a restraining order. There is no filing fee. You will have to prepare all the necessary paperwork yourself. It may be a good idea to seek a lawyer to help you in the remainder of the restraining application process.
- Applying in the courtroom before a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench,
- Serving the Order and Declaration/Affidavit to your partner, the “respondent”. The Order must be received to take effect; and
- Registering the Affidavit (proving that your partner received the Order) and Order at your local police station.
In serious or urgent cases, you can apply for a restraining order on the same day you go to the courthouse without giving the Respondent notice you are going. Usually, you will have to come back to court within two to three days to have the order reviewed. The Respondent is given a chance to give their side of the story at the review. At the review, if the order is continued, the judge will set how long it will stay in place for. There is no minimum or maximum length the order can stay in place, this is up to the judge.
If you do not want to serve the documents yourself, you can hire someone, called a process server, to serve them for you.